Another reason I solo MMOs

Yes! It’s yet another solo players and MMOs post! I’m gonna talk about something a little different this morning though.

So I’m playing Red Dead Redemption lately. Liking it a lot, but there are a few systems that are a bit wonky. Horses, for instance. Horses have various speeds as well as a loyalty stat. As you bond with a horse it becomes more loyal and gains stamina. That’s all well and good but… it’s really hard to tell horses apart. There’s no way to examine a horse to see if he’s yours, or how fast (or loyal) he is, and if your horse gets killed the next time you load (or save) a game you’ll magically have a horse again. The same horse? No, I don’t think so. But what horse is this? There’s no way to tell.

I’d love to see Rockstar re-write the ‘horse system’ to make it a bit more robust. Letting us name our horse would be a start, and letting us examine one to estimate how fast it is would be great too. Heck they could even make that some kind of skill you can learn. How many times has someone in a Western said of another character “That man knows his horses”?

If Red Dead Redemption were an MMO, I’d suggest these changes in the game’s forums or even via in-game tools, and I think a lot of other players would too. We’d have a reasonable chance of having the horse system get a revamp at some point over the years that the game’s “Live Team” worked on it.

It’s remotely possible that Rockstar will re-do the horse system in DLC for RDR, but such a sweeping change isn’t really likely. With the game having a shelf-life of a year or so, it just wouldn’t be worth them devoting the resources to a new horse system (and while I’m using horses as an example, there’re other systems that could really shine with an overhaul).

And that’s another reason I play MMOs even though I’m very much a soloer. MMOs evolve over time, generally improving (though for every change, there’s someone that sees it as a bad thing) or expanding. There’s always new content coming. And at least hope for improvements that you’d like to see.

As someone who has been playing MMOs for years and years, playing RDR is riddled with little pockets of disappointment as I go through a cycle of thinking to myself: “Oh, this feature is a little weak…maybe they’ll improve it in a patch.” followed by, for the umpteenth time, the recollection that I’m not playing an MMO and there’s not a great likelihood of big changes coming to the game. What I’m playing is what I’ll always be playing, and that makes me a little sad.

[Please don’t infer from this post that RDR is a bad game…I like it a LOT. If you’re considering it, I encourage you to give it a try. No game is perfect and I, as a player and armchair developer, am always thinking of ways every game I play can be improved.]

4 thoughts on “Another reason I solo MMOs

  1. I, too, struggle with the horses. They turn like cinder blocks, and I am NOT a fan of the “A-A-A-A and hold” acceleration method. I only have two thumbs…and forget about maintaning speed and direction AND changing weapons with the left bumper and right thumbstick!

    I know it SHOULD stand on it’s own merits, but I think R* has put a little TOO much GTA into RDR, and it shows the most in the horses. Horses in RDR are the cars in GTA…the models are just different. You shouldn’t be attached to any one of them because technically you can lose it at any time, and just “horse-jack” another.

    But as an aside, I’m in the same camp as you when it comes to MMOs. People who get all worked up and use “why do you play an MMO if you aren’t going to be social” are pretty narrow minded…I play for the expansive world, the mere PRESENCE of other players which can lead to unpredicatable circumstances, and the constant updating.

  2. Heyo.

    If you like the whole open world concept, but find Red Dead Redemption a bit annoying in certain respects, you may want to try Just Cause 2. 🙂 Causing Chaos is fun. 🙂

  3. @Victor: I’m 99% sure I’d find something in Just Cause 2 a bit annoying, too. No game is perfect and RDR is so far my personal game of the year. I’m really enjoying it a lot. Of course, there’s a lot of year left! 🙂

    @Scopique: “You shouldnt be attached to any one of them because technically you can lose it at any time, and just horse-jack another.” The difference is, in GTA IV I can pretty much tell by looking how fast a car is going to be (and there’s no loyalty). If I need something sturdy I’ll jack a truck. If I need something fast, I’ll jack a sport’s car. We need that kind of visual indicator in RDR, I think. I’m not sure what that would be, though. Maybe the clues are already there to people who really need horses?

    I find it pretty rewarding when my horse gets to trust me enough that it’ll follow me as I wander around picking herbs. OTOH when I’m trying to ambush some bad guys, the horse trailing behind makes it tough to be sneaky. 🙂

  4. Good points, Pete. I would also love to see an update of the horse system. As many stats as they track on your character and equipment, I can’t understand why there’s no information from the pause menu on your current mount. The only way I’ve found to identify the fast mounts from the slow ones is by reading the deeds you can buy from the general stores. Each deed references a specific breed and includes a description of the horse as well as a mention of slow, normal, or fast.

    Besides getting regular updates, sometimes if you want to play a specific IP an MMO is your only choice (LotRO, STO).

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